Friday, June 13, 2008

Shills in Snipes' Feathers

John Dickerson, over at Slate, has penned an interesting article claiming that the disaffected Clinton supporters who are now planning to cross party lines aren't as powerful as they're being made out to be. He likens the search for them to a snipe hunt - albeit one in which your quarry seems to be everywhere rather than nowhere.

Personally, I suspect that the "I'm so pissed that Senator Clinton didn't get the nomination so I'm going to vote for McCain" voter isn't as numerous as they're made out to be. I'll bet they're actually a fairly rare bird, if for no other reason than many of them are really Republican voters in the first place.

Dickerson is likely correct - the anger and hurt feelings over Obama WILL fade. So someone needs to stoke the fire. And on the internet, no one knows that you're a Republican. Let's face it. If someone were to come across this weblog at random, as far they're concerned, I could be Howard Dean as easily as I could be Karl Rove. Or, for that matter, John Dickerson. Would you really know any more about some random person who sets up (No, it's not intended to be a real site. I made it up.)

As movements begin to shed members, a snowball effect begins. As it gets lonelier and lonelier, the exodus gets faster and faster. But if you have a number of people keeping the lights on, and making sure that there's always someone home, you can slow the rush for the exits.

This isn't to say that everyone who stomps around complaining about Hillary not getting the top spot or being chosen as VP is actually a Republican. I suspect that there really are some people who are so mad they can't see straight and are willing to open up a can of worms that will be very, VERY difficult to close later on. Just like I suspect that there really are people who see Senator Obama as hopelessly unqualified, and honestly believe that Senator McCain will do a better job for the nation. After all, despite all the flack that Nader took in 2000, it was Democrats for Bush that put him over the top in Florida - they outnumbered the Nader voters. And not all Democrats voted for Kerry/Edwards, either. Anyone willing to cross party lines in 2004 is likely to be perfectly willing to do so now.

But the GOP would be a bunch of idiots not to throw some resources towards ensuring that as many Clinton partisans remain disaffected as they can. It's what negative campaigning is all about. And here you have a ready-made negative campaign, and a constituency that is already receptive to it. They don't really need them to vote Republican in the fall; they'll likely be happy just to have them stay home, and hopefully browbeat family members into doing the same. Those that do actually cross over are a bonus. A few thousand votes in one or two battleground states could make all the difference. And the costs are minimal. It's not like Senator McCain is going to have to turn pro-choice as payment or anything. And if it works, it becomes the gift that keeps on giving. Clintonistas that think that after four more years of a GOP White House that all will be forgiven, and the feelings of betrayal will be submerged "for the good of the party" have half the sense Dog gave a cabbage. Many of the young people who went crazy for Obama are likely to have simply been turned off, and the Obama die hards will likely have no problem doing onto others.

In light of all that, just because it looks like a snipe, walks like a snipe and grouses like a snipe - I'd think twice before claiming to be sure that it's a snipe.